Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review: The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell




Twelve princesses suffer from a puzzling (if silly) curse, and anyone who ends it will win a reward. Reveka, a sharp-witted and irreverent apprentice herbalist, wants that reward. But her investigations lead to deeper mysteries and a daunting choice—will she break the curse at the peril of her own soul?

I’m not sure what to think about this book. It was so incredibly different than I was expecting. Originally I thought it was just about the twelve dancing princesses, but then I found that the latter half of the book tackles another tale altogether: Hades and Persephone! The dust jacket says Beauty and the Beast, but it’s clear that it’s more than that.

I found myself struggling to connect with Reveka. She didn’t seem very realistic to me. She had her heart set on joining a convent, and she’s only 13! That and a lot of other things seemed really out of character for a 13 year old. I think if she’d been older (15/16), she would’ve come off as more realistic and relatable.

The ending wasn’t very satisfying. I didn’t agree with Reveka’s choices at all, but I understood her way of thinking. Things were left open for a sequel, though, so maybe things will be properly resolved once and for all.

I liked seeing how Reveka interacted with her father. So often in MG/YA lit the parents are out of the picture. While Reveka starts her adventures out for the most part on her own, soon she has her dad joining her, and the way they interacted and their relationship grew was convincing, while a teensy bit cheesy.

The magic and mystery surrounding the princesses and their curse are exciting and suspenseful. I think many readers, young and old, will find The Princess Curse an enjoyable adventure that they will not soon forget.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday #10: Series I Haven't Finished

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish
This weeks topic is…Series I Haven’t Finished.
10. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
I was allowed to read Twilight when I was 12ish, and devoured the first two books. Then I lost interest and realized how stupid it was. I listened to the Eclipse audiobook and was feeling pretty “meh” about it. So now all that’s left is Breaking Dawn, and I’m happy to skip out on that one because the idea of a vampire baby terrifies me.
9. Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
I got the first two books on audio, and was actually pretty bored with them. They were okay, and a spunky heroine is always fun, but it just felt like the same generic middle grade fantasy you can find anywhere.
8. The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa
I read the first book not too long ago and really liked it, but I had no desire to continue the series at all.
7. Divergent by Veronica Roth
I love love love Divergent, but for some reason I have no interest in reading Insurgent. I’ll probably get to it eventually, but I’m happy to wait.
6. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
My sister and I got the first ten books for Christmas when I was nine or something. They kind of creeped me out, so I ended up never reading the last couple.
5. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Another Christmas present! My mom got this for “her little princesses” when I was 10ish, because evidently she wasn’t aware of the fact that the Disney movie had been heavily Disneyed up, and stripped of most questionable content that the books are packed with. Needless to say, I did not continue on.
4. The Sister’s Grimm
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m obsessed with fairytales, so you would think I’d love this series, right? We’ll I did sort of like the first couple books, but after book three things started getting really weird. And I’m assuming they kept getting weirder as there are at least 10 books now and the series is still not over…
3. The Chronicles of Narnia
One more childhood experience! When the movie came out, we got this enormous book with all seven volumes in it. I read most of them, but never finished because The Silver Chair was boring the heck out of me.
2. The Chemical Garden Trilogy
Wither was so good that I’m kind of scared to read Fever. I’ve heard it’s really, really bad compared to Wither, and that there’s a circus somewhere in there… but I guess I’ll have to since Sever is coming out soon!
1. Percy Jackson an the Olympians
I read the books after the movie, and so ended up liking the movie more. I read the first four books, but then dropped the last one because it wasn’t doing it for me. I haven’t read any of Rick Riordan’s other books, either, leading my mom to believe that I’m sexist when it comes to authors. (Whenever she tells me to read a book, the first thing she says is “It’s written by a woman!”
So…what are some series you never finished?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson




Everything is different

Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year-long coma - so she's been told - and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. But what happened before that? She's been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why won't anyone in her family talk about the accident? Jenna is becoming more curious. But she is also afraid of what she might find out if she ever gets up the courage to ask her questions.

What happened to Jenna Fox? And who is she really?

This book was powerful, thrilling, and moving in many ways. I thought it would be some kind of loud, action-packed book. Instead, I was met by a calmer, but very intense story of life, death, and everything in between.

Jenna was such a unique character. She has no memory of her life before, and feels like a stranger to her body. As the story progresses, it’s interesting to see her adapt to her new life, and slowly gain back memories of her past.

The writing was very poetic. It was smooth and clean, flowing with the exciting storyline. I loved how we were in Jenna’s head, and how her thoughts are portrayed. It added another layer of depth to an already deep, moving story.

There were new surprises everywhere, and while I managed to guess a lot of twists, I still missed some. I definitely found myself on the edge of my seat quite frequently.

This book addresses some pretty complicated topics with care. How far is too far? If you have the power to save a life better left untouched, should you? These questions aren’t easily answered, and yet Mary E. Pearson does a beautiful job with it.

An eerie prediction of where I world could be in just a few short years, The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a deep, beautiful, and powerful story about discovering your identity and purpose.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up (18)

Here’s two weeks worth of weekend wrap-ups for you!
My laptop is kind of functioning, but we’re still sending it away in about a week. I’ll get as many reviews written and scheduled as possible, but from there I’ll be stuck sharing a beat up old computer with about 7 other people.
Last week was pretty light. An interview, a meme, and a review.
This week was really light. No memes. No reviews. All I had was the cover reveal for Abandon by Elana Johnson (which is really pretty!)
Books Read
Last week started off really well. I finished the Amaranth Enchantment in one sitting on Monday. I would’ve finished Between Shades of Gray in one sitting if I thought I could handle it, but instead I broke it up into smaller, bite-sized bits. Then I started The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland…
This week I’ve been really sleep deprived, so any time I tried to sit down and read I would fall asleep. But finally I finished The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland… Saturday night.
Received This Week
Last weeks stop at the library brought Uglies and The Girl of Fire and Thorns. 2477010429092
And this week I got some pretty Across the Universe Swag from Jen Bigheart and some Origin swag from Jessica Khoury (though the envelope was falling apart when it showed up, so I think something’s missing…) Now I just need the book to go with it!
To Read
I’ll be finishing off Eve & Adam (really good so far), and killing off my library books. If I get the chance, I might even dig into a surprise book from my TBR shelf (I’m thinking John Green…)
Coming This Week
  Look for zillions of reviews! And other cool stuff!
How was your week?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cover Reveal: Abandon by Elana Johnson

I’m really excited to be able to show you guys the cover of the third book in Elana Johnson’s Possession series, Abandon. I enjoyed the first two books, and looking back, I actually liked them a lot more than I think my reviews show. Anyway, on to the cover!

after this exciting synopsis…

seduced by power,

broken by control,

and consumed by love...

Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the Resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there's more at stake than a few broken hearts. 

But there is a traitor among them...and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for.

Vi, Jag, and Zenn must set their problems aside for the Resistance to have any hope of ending the Thinkers' reign. Their success means everything...and their failure means death.

Are you ready?

provided by

What? You didn't think I'd let you get off easy, did you? No, you had to work to see this! Isn’t it so pretty? I think it might be my favorite cover of the series. And they all go together so nicely, see! I know I’ll be picking up a set when it comes out.

 1206285611700071abandon_new tag

ALSO: Elana is running a Pinterest contest for the cover. She wants to get 500 pins (or repins) over the next two days. If we can get that many, she'll pick someone who pinned the cover to win a $50 Amazon gift card. It's so easy to do this. All you have to do is click this PIN IT button and select one of your boards to pin the cover to. Elana has done everything else! Don't have a Pinterest board yet? Put it on your Tumblr page. Your Facebook page. Your twitter stream. Elana will count those too! Just be sure to tag her (@ElanaJ on twitter, Possession by Elana Johnson on Facebook).

And thanks to AToMR Tours for throwing together this epic cover reveal!

What do you think about the cover?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Unexpected blogging hiatus

Guess what! My laptop keeps overheating and threatening to explode, so I'm going to be taking a quick break from blogging. But when I come back, I'll be having a review practically everyday. I'll be on twitter and checking my email minimally, but this blog is going to be mostly empty (unless my laptop magically starts working again!)

See you eventually!

And before I forget, I still have a spot open for a fairytale mini-challenge on Oct, 20th. Email me if you're willing to do anything!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Interview: Pica @ Pica Reads

Pica Reads

Let me introduce you to Pica. She is one of the coolest blogger out there! I think we might even be long-lost blogging sisters! We read and review the same kinds of books, and we’re both obsessed with fairytales! (And just so you know, my answers to these questions would be almost identical!) And today, because she’s so awesome, she’s interviewing me, too! So stop by her blog and say hi! (And enter her 100 follower giveaway!)

Why did you start your blog?
I came up with the idea of creating a place to write down my thoughts about books. I was envisioning more of a Goodreads-type experience, but at the time, I had no idea Goodreads even existed, nor did I have any knowledge of the book-blogging community. I started Pica Reads on April 22, 2010. My first reviews were book-report style, and both embarrassing and funny to look back on. I was so serious, and so focused on getting it right, but I had no idea what I was doing.

Where did the name of your blog come from?
I’ve always loved typewriters and other old technology (i.e. record players, etc.), so when I was asked to choose a name for camp, I chose Pica, the name of a typewriter font. When I started my blog, I used that same name as my internet identity.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what 3 books would you bring?
Wow, the impossible question. I’m going to say: Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones; Fly by Night, by Frances Hardinge; and Heir Apparent, by Vivian Vande Velde, but there are so many books I wish I could add to that list.

What are you doing when you aren’t reading or blogging?
I am still in school, so a lot of my time is taken up by schoolwork and school itself, but I also love to sing. I contribute a lot of my time to singing, but that’s not always separate from my reading / blogging time.

What are 3 words that describe your personality?
Cheerful, Hardworking, Readerly

If you had to pick one author to meet, who would it be?
It’s so hard to decide, but I’m choosing Shannon Hale. I’ve met her twice already, and they were some of the best experiences of my life. I’ve always wanted to go out to lunch with Shannon Hale. That would be a dream come true.

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
I can’t possibly choose one. Don’t make me choose!

How old were you when you learned to read?
I don’t remember the exact age, but I was very young. My family has lots of home videos of me reading picture books on my parents laps.

How many books do you read in a week?
It varies from week to week, but I am aiming to read 200 books this year, so that averages out to about 4 books a week.

What’s the first book you remember reading?
A picture book called Caps for Sale. I read it so often that I quickly had it memorized.

Purple, Orange, or Green?

White, Milk, or Dark Chocolate?
For most of my life, I’ve preferred milk chocolate, but recently I’ve started liking the dark much more.

Harry Potter, Twilight, or Hunger Games?
Harry Potter, by far. I was an HP fanatic in middle school, and could quote both the Hogwarts school song and the inscription of the Gringotts doors by memory. At the annual camp talent show, I had a Harry Potter trivia game every year. So yeah, Harry Potter.

Fantasy, Romance, or Historical Fiction?
Hmmm… am I allowed to choose Romantic Historical Fantasy? If not, I suppose Fantasy would top the list.

Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, or Lima Beans?
Brussels Sprouts. My mom makes the most delicious Brussels sprouts ever. And the most delicious broccoli. And cauliflower. And zucchini. Now I’m hungry.

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Debz!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta




"What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

I’m really not a big fan of contemporary anything, but I do make exceptions for exceptional novels. And thankfully this most certainly fits into that category. It was a fresh, bittersweet, and most definitely exceptional novel.

For the first half of the book I felt a little lost, but that’s mostly my fault for being in the middle of 3 other books at the time. But by around page 200 things finally started making sense, and I quickly put together what had happen in the beginning. And then I got to enjoy the journey that Taylor and her friends get to go on.

I loved the flashbacks to the past. They added another layer of depth and helped to piece together the future of where things might lead. The plot was masterfully constructed. It wasn’t an insane, thrilling story. Just the simple story of a girl trying to discover her past. But it was so much more than that.

The different characters were all complex and interesting. I loved learning their backstories, especially Taylor’s. The things she goes through to full discover her past are remarkable.

The ending was heartbreaking and wonderful. Nothing horribly dramatic, but outstanding nonetheless. I very highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a touching and thoughtful story that will stay with them long after they finish it.

Top Ten Tuesday #9: Books That Make You Think

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish
This weeks topic is…Top Ten Books That Make You Think
10. Animal Farm by George Orwell
My mom read this aloud to my family when I was about 9, and I don’t even remember much of the plot. But I do remember how we got into lots of deep political discussions that definitely shaped my political views today.
9. Matched by Ally Condie
With a perfect society where nothing goes wrong, what are you supposed to do when it does? And what do you do when everything you’ve learned is a lie? I read this a long time ago and I still think about it all the time.
8. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
I really didn’t like this book, but It was certainly thought-provoking, and had a really good overall message.
7. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Wither explores what the world would be like it everyone died just as they reached adulthood. The concept is utterly terrifying, and as I was reading, I found myself desperately trying to solve the problem and save the world.
6. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I don’t know what’s wrong with people who decide to lock a bunch of teenagers up in a maze full of horribleness, but they do. And it makes you wonder why, and what the world outside the maze is like that’s do much worse than inside.
5. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
This was a sad, thoughtful book. It’s beautifully written and left me practically in tears.
4. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Both this book and A Million Suns really make you think about what’s right and wrong, what’s going to far, and what you can do if there are no other options. That along with a thrilling plot and powerful writing make this a must-read.
3. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
This book explores what the world could be like with medical advances capable of doing some unthinkable things—and just how far too far is.
2. Looking For Alaska by John Green
I must get around to reading everything by John Green because this book was so powerful and thought-provoking, exploring life and death and everything in between.
1. The Giver by Lois Lowry
Choices are powerful things, and who should be in charge of who makes those choices? This book does an excellent job exploring these questions.

What are some of your favorite thought-provoking books?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up (17)

I wrapped up August last Friday, so skipped my weekly wrap up
Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon sign ups are open (and so are mini-challenge and giveaway hosting spots!)
I reviewed The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I sorta disappeared from the Labor Day Read-a-Thon because my real-life was too crazy
I reviewed Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
I listed the Top Ten books on my Fall TBR list
I reviewed Legend by Marie Lu
I couldn’t choose what’s next in my TBR pile!
Books Read
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Received This Week
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Won from Bookshop Talk! (By submitting a bunch of reviews—you should keep an eye out for them!)
To Read
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The Amaranth Enchantment the Amaranth Enchantment
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland… by Catherynne M. Valente
Coming This Week
  I have many, many reviews to write, and I might have a special guest stopping by…
In the “real world”
  Many of you know that school started this week. And even homeschoolers have to do school. I was not prepared for waking up at 5 every morning and doing 4 hours of schoolwork a day. My reading is slowing down a little bit, but I’m still going at it!
How was your week?

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